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The Amazing Avocado

By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: July 22, 2008, from the March 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Although distinctly a California food, avocados originated in south-central Mexico between 7000 and 5000 B.C. Archeologists in Peru found domesticated avocado seeds buried with Incan mummies dating back to 750 B.C.

Commonly assumed to be a vegetable, this green temptation actually is a fruit that is sodium- and cholesterol-free. When ripe and ready to eat, avocados are firm, but yield to gentle pressure. The most popular variety of the fruit is Hass, but there are seven others from which to choose. Although the avocado has more fat than most fruits at approximately five grams per piece, most of it is the healthy monounsaturated variety. Avocados have 60% more potassium than bananas and are rich in B vitamins, as well as vitamins E and K. They are not sweet, and the greenish-yellow flesh features a creamy texture.

In the kitchen

Often a replacement for meat in vegetarian dishes, avocado also is used as a base for guacamole and as a filling for several varieties of sushi. It is popular in chicken dishes and salads. At Golden Door Spa in Escondido, California, you can enjoy Chilled Cream of Corn Soup with avocado, lime and red pepper coulis. The Chilled Lobster and Artichoke Salad with avocado is a favorite at The Spa at Short Hills in Short Hills, New Jersey. Try a more exotic dish with Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin-based The Sundara Spa’s Tofu Sauté, which is garnished with salsa and whipped avocado salad. The Croissant of Shrimp and Avocado is popular at Willow Stream, the Spa at The Fairmont Empress in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Avocado also graces the Kohler Waters Spa Salad and the Kohler Waters Spa in Kohler, Wisconsin. Also see Southwest Grilled Chicken Soup, courtesy of chef Nathan Wright at Green Mountain at Fox Run in Ludlow, Vermont.

In the spa

Avocado oil, derived from the fruit through a pressing process, is extremely good for the skin. It helps diminish sun damage and age spots, and softens skin with its moisturizing effect. The Skamania Lodge Spa in Stevenson, Washington, features a Hydramax Facial that encourages skin to retain moisture by harmonizing with essential fatty acids from avocado. The Avocado Stone Body Polish from La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California, includes a natural avocado cream exfoliation using finely ground avocado stones. Nourishing California avocado shea butter is utilized in the Beverly Hills, California-based The Peninsula Spa’s Classic California Massage. Featuring an avocado soufflé, the Avocado Lime Body Treatment graces the menu of Revive Spa at the JW Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix.

Avocado Pear Carrier Oil from Eve Taylor (London) Limited has a higher degree of penetration than most carrier oils and has moisturizing, softening properties for dry and prematurely aged skin. Nature Pure Laboratories offers Age Defying Night Cream that includes avocado oil to help make skin more resilient and radiant. Firm, tone, lift and smooth the delicate eye area with PETER THOMAS ROTH’s Mega Rich Intensive Anti-Aging Cellular Eye Crème with avocado oil. Avocado Body Lotion from Bio Jouvance Paris soothes away dryness and rough skin using oils from the avocado seed.

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